This project is part of a wider programme of work in partnership with the Department for Education to support schools and colleges to make more effective use of technology. This programme follows research carried out earlier this year exploring different models for ‘EdTech Testbeds’ found around the world.
Technology has the potential to support teaching and learning and reduce teacher workload, but we know that it doesn't always live up to expectations. There are many reasons for this - from unreliable infrastructure or lack of guidance on effective implementation, to poor training or an ill-suited product. Against this backdrop, it can be difficult for schools and colleges to know what technology will work for them.
Through the Edtech Innovation Testbed we will use evaluation to help us address some of these challenges and provide better evidence for schools and colleges. By bridging the gap between educators and technology organisations we aim to achieve three goals:
- Higher quality evidence. Support EdTech organisations to generate more robust evidence through rapid mixed-methods experimental evaluations. Evidence for EdTech is often missing, low-quality, hard to understand or inconsistent. As a result, it is often difficult to make informed decisions about the most appropriate tools for schools/colleges. More robust forms of evaluation can be costly and inflexible for many EdTech tools, so we will support more accessible evaluations through the testbed.
- Improve how technology is used. Support schools and colleges to participate in research which will identify, trial, and evaluate EdTech tools suited to their needs. The Testbed will identify and share practical lessons for schools and colleges on improving technology use.
- Test the Testbed. Explore how the Testbed could become a sustainable model for more flexible, rapid and cheaper evaluations generating higher-quality evidence and useful learning for schools and colleges.
The programme is designed for busy schools and colleges with limited resources - but who want to get involved in the latest research, and want to experiment to see how technology could help them. Here are four key benefits for participating schools and colleges:
- Try out technology for free to address a challenge in your school or college to support better student outcomes or reduce staff workload and find out whether it works.
- Improve how your school or college uses technology, as part of a community of participating schools/colleges.
- Receive ongoing support to reduce the time involved and resource burden to a minimum. We recognise that time is precious and will assist lead staff as best we can. Support can include financial contributions to cover staff time, support with implementing the EdTech tools through helplines and hands-on advice and guidance. Schools will also be supported in collecting data for the evaluation. More information on support is available on our FAQ page.
- Professional development for lead staff focused on implementation of educational technology, understanding of evidence and evaluating in your own school or college setting.
Below is an outline of the four stages of the Testbed.
1. Recruitment (from October 2019)
Schools, colleges and EdTech organisations are recruited to take part in the Testbed.
2. Matchmaking (Spring Term 2020)
Schools and colleges are partnered with EdTech tools suited to their needs and a particular challenge faced in their school/college.
3. Test, evaluate and learn (Summer 2020 - Summer 2021)
Our independent evaluation delivery partner, Durham University Evidence Centre for Education (DECE), works closely with schools, colleges and EdTech organisations to design and deliver a series of mixed-methods evaluations.
School and college staff provided with opportunities to develop their understanding of research and implementation of technology in their settings.
Publication and sharing of evaluation results and actionable insights for schools, colleges and EdTech organisations.
Our first round of school and college recruitment has now closed, but we are always interested in hearing from schools and colleges interested in participating. Please email us at [email protected] for more information and visit our dedicated page for updates.
Applications for EdTech companies are open until Monday 2 December, 9am. Read more and apply at our page for EdTech companies.
We will be in touch with all applicants in the new year when matchmaking begins. This page will be updated when trials have been announced.